Inside: Joining pharmacy organizations gives you access to networking opportunities, resources, and tools you can use to improve your independent community pharmacy. Here are the top ones to join.
Wondering why you should join yet another organization?
You might feel hesitant to spend the time or money required to join a professional organization.
But the benefits of membership extend to your community and to your pharmacy.
With professional pharmacy organizations, your pharmacy gains several advantages:
- Stay up-to-date on industry trends and changes
- Get resources to expand your skills and services
- Influence local, state, and national legislation, with tens of thousands of voices to back up your opinion
Here are seven pharmacy organizations to consider joining (if you haven’t already).
1. National Community Pharmacists Association
The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) is a pharmacist organization that represents the pharmacists and employees of more than 22,000 independent community pharmacies in the U.S.
Most significantly, NCPA lobbies on behalf of independent community pharmacists to encourage legislation that allows independent pharmacies to succeed. Or to discourage potentially harmful legislation.
As a member of NCPA, you’ll have access to NCPA conferences and events. And you get tons of resources for pharmacy owners, including patient and community outreach materials, training, and workshops.
You also receive deals and discounts for programs and services to help you excel in business.
Discounted programs through NCPA include:
- Digital Pharmacist: Exclusive social media support and enhancements for NCPA members
- Dispose My Meds™: Get a discount on the purchase of a takeaway box, as well as information and resources to create a disposal program
- Simplify My Meds®: NCPA’s medication synchronization program
- Ulta Lab Tests: Give patients access to hundreds of comprehensive health screenings and lab tests
- And more!
Learn more about joining NCPA.
2. American Pharmacists Association
The American Pharmacists Association (APhA) is the largest organization for pharmacists in the U.S. It represents not only independent community pharmacists, but also those from all other practice settings. Pharmacy students, pharmacy technicians, nizagara pharmacy, and pharmaceutical scientists are also members.
Highlighted APhA initiatives include building public awareness about the importance of pharmacists and creating awareness of industry concerns among lawmakers.
Members of APhA have access to:
- Educational opportunities and continuing education courses
- Online resources
- Drug and treatment updates
- Members-only discounts, volunteer and leadership activities
- Networking opportunities with more than 64,000 peers
Learn more about joining APhA.
3. State Pharmacy Associations
While state pharmacy associations vary from state to state, each association has the same mission. State pharmacy associations seek to advance the pharmacy profession and to ensure that pharmacists’ skills are utilized.
Joining your state pharmacy association will give your pharmacy a voice with your state legislature. You’ll also have access to educational resources and opportunities to connect with other pharmacists in your state.
Your state pharmacy association is also one of the best resources for up-to-date information on requirements and regulations in your state.
Learn more about joining state pharmacy associations.
4. American College of Apothecaries
The American College of Apothecaries (ACA) is an organization of pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, pharmacy students, marketers, and affiliate and corporate members, with a focus on independent community pharmacy.
Pharmacists who want to become members need to apply for Fellowships with ACA and must meet ACA Practice Standards or have the recommendation of other Fellows.
The ACA focuses on mentorship, education, and entrepreneurship within the profession. It also offers multiple continuing education and networking opportunities each year through events and meetings.
Members can access the ACA’s live compounding classes and webinars, as well as on-demand continuing education resources.
Pharmacists’ membership in ACA is highly respected, and the organization helps you market your membership to your community as a designation of your exemplary pharmacy services.
Learn more about joining ACA.
5. Professional Compounding Centers of America
The Professional Compounding Centers of America (PCCA) is devoted to providing resources for independent compounding pharmacies.
Specifically, the organization provides fine chemicals, equipment, devices, training, and support. PCCA offers more than 14,000 products.
PCCA also provides access to compounding courses and continuing education programs, as well as a consulting department that helps members with preparing medications.
Learn more about joining PCCA.
6. Pharmacy Services Administration Organizations (PSAOs)
Pharmacy services administration organizations (PSAOs) were developed to help independent pharmacies interact with third party payers, like pharmacy benefits managers (PBMs).
They typically handle PBM contracting, third party reconciliation, audit services, and more. PSAOs have the expertise to negotiate better contracts with PBMs and to look for hidden clauses and conditions that can harm independent pharmacies.
They provide tools and resources to help pharmacies handle the burden of administrative work that comes with processing third party claims.
What to look for in a PSAO:
- Overall contracting strategy
- Track record for holding PBMs accountable
- Works to gain access to preferred or limited PBM networks
- Actively negotiates improved rates and terms (rather just signing the PBM contract)
- Looks for protections and allowances in contract language (i.e. MAC appeals allowances, drug class or claim type exclusions, network aggregate reimbursement guarantees, and more)
Look for an independently owned PSAO with no external equity holders.
Recommendation: Pharmacy Providers of Oklahoma (PPOk) provides efficient, effective, cost-controlled PSAO services for independent pharmacies.
7. Pharmacy Buying Groups
Traditionally, independent pharmacies join pharmacy buying groups or group purchasing organizations (GPOs) to pool their buying power.
These organizations work as cooperatives and negotiate contracts with national wholesalers (typically only one wholesaler) on behalf of independent pharmacies.
They help pharmacies negotiate better primary wholesaler contracts than they could on their own.
What to look for in a pharmacy buying group:
- Independently owned (no external equity holders)
- Negotiates with multiple wholesalers (not just one)
- Track record of negotiation experience
- Looks for terms and conditions you wouldn’t have considered and avoids hidden conditions
- Encourages pharmacies to participate in the negotiation process and decision-making
Recommendation: ProfitGuard® is a primary wholesaler contract negotiation and management service from PBA Health. It’s a different take on the buying group model and can provide group purchasing power, bids from multiple national wholesalers, and expert industry negotiators.
ProfitGuard guarantees independent pharmacies a better cost of inventory than their current deal. In fact, it increases margins by 2-6 percent on average for independent pharmacies.
Professional pharmacy organizations are some of your pharmacy’s best resources. But it’s up to you to get involved and use what they have to offer.
A Member-Owned Company Serving Independent Pharmacies
PBA Health is dedicated to helping independent pharmacies reach their full potential on the buy-side of their business. Founded and owned by pharmacists, PBA Health serves independent pharmacies with group purchasing services, wholesaler contract negotiations, proprietary purchasing tools, and more.
An HDA member, PBA Health operates its own NABP-accredited secondary wholesaler with more than 6,000 SKUs, including brands, generics, narcotics CII-CV, cold-storage products, and over-the-counter (OTC) products — offering the lowest prices in the secondary market.